#WeekendCoffeeShare (June 4, 2022)

Hi everyone on this warm but windy Saturday afternoon. It’s been a while since I joined #WeekendCoffeeShare, so I thought I’d participate once again. I’ve just had my afternoon coffee, but the other clients are still having theirs, so grab a cuppa if you want. I also have a delicious loose-leaf herbal tea that I swapped with my assigned staff for the lemon and mint flavored green tea that came in a box I’d acquired back in February when I had COVID. After all, back then the staff had taken the entire box to my room and only then realized that because of the risk of contamination, she couldn’t take it back to the kitchen. It contained four varieties of green tea: plain, lemon, orange and mint. I like plain and sometimes orange only, so now that I trust the box isn’t laden with viruses anymore, I gave the other two varieties to my staff. Anyway, the herbal tea contains cinnamon, lavender and I don’t know what else, but it’s truly lovely. Let’s have a drink and let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week was rather intense emotionally. On Monday, we welcomed a new resident to my care home. She’s quiet and doesn’t seem to need a lot of care, but the fact that she can walk independently and yet does have a profound intellectual disability, does create some of its own risks.

The door to the home now needs to be locked for her safety. She can’t work keys, so the key remains in the lock during the day for me to open it. (At night, it’s been out for years already for my safety.) This does create some inner turmoil in me, both because of the lack of clarity (either the door is locked or it is not, in my mind) and because of my feelings about the presumption of competence for me. I mean, I am an elopement risk too and some recent events in which I’ve been quite a possible danger to myself while running away, do make me feel weird. On the other hand, I really don’t want to go back to my time on the locked psych unit.

If we were having coffee, I would also share that, on Wednesday, my assigned home staff captured one of my child alters on video while playing with one of the new resident’s sensory toys. She later asked my permission to forward the video to the other staff and the behavior specialist. I at first said yes, then felt a little anxious but eventually decided to give my permission after all.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I did finish all the presents for my sister and nieces on time for my visit to the family tomorrow. Besides the earrings I created for my sister and the mobile for little Wolke (that’s the baby’s name), I created a polymer clay bear for Janneke, my older niece.

Deciding when exactly we wanted to visit, was a bit of a hassle, since I’d forgotten my sister and her children of course need to sleep during the afternoon and I had more or less filled in for my husband that a morning visit wouldn’t be possible because of the long drive. Finally though, we agreed that we’d be at my sister’s by 11AM tomorrow and have lunch there. My husband insisted on picking me up here in Raalte tomorrow. Now that I think of it, I realize that it makes perfect sense, since he, unlike me, is a morning person. Oh well.

If we were having coffee, I would share that I went clothes shopping this morning with my staff. I bought three pants and two shirts and immediately wanted to put most of my old pants in a bag for the charity shop, because they’re way too wide. I didn’t in the end though, because I want to give it some more thought.

If we were having coffee, lastly I’d report that I’m now under 69kg, yay! I have now lost exactly 3kg since starting my healthier living journey back in January. Of course, that’s not much, but it’s better to go slow and keep losing than to go fast and then gain all the weight back because you’re tired of the healthy lifestyle after a while.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (May 13, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone! What a week, what a day it’s been. I really feel like writing, but my head is buzzing, so I thought for a bit of cheer and calm, I’d do a gratitude post. As usual, I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful. Here goes.

1. I am grateful my staff were able to get the staffing schedule figured out and actually without temp workers needing to step in. The reality was, the temping agency didn’t have anyone available, so the regular staff ended up overworking, but this was a huge positive for me as it meant no unfamiliar faces.

2. I am grateful that a new staff was finally hired to work here. She did come from another home that’s part of my care facility, so they might now have a staffing shortage, but oh well, that’s not my problem. Until this staff came here, a lot of potential staff were given a look around my home but decided eventually not to want to work here.

3. I am grateful for delicious home-cooked chicken and rice yesterday. I actually cooked it with my day activities staff.

4. I am grateful for the smile on one of my fellow clients’ faces when I offered him a serving of the chicken and rice too. He is the only one in my care home who can eat rice without choking, so the staff, when cooking, never cook rice. I’m so happy he was pleased.

5. I am grateful for Sadje’s comment on my last blog post. I thought WordPress was acting up, since I wasn’t getting any comments. It might still be, but at least someone is able and willing to comment.

6. I am grateful for a visit from my mother-in-law on Tuesday. I am grateful we had a good talk with my assigned home staff. After that, we went to Rijssen, a town about a 30-minute drive from Raalte, to go for a walk and have coffee.

7. I am grateful I was able to mostly stick to my healthier eating plan over the past week. The only exception was the sausage roll I ordered in Rijssen. It not only was unhealthy, but came out of the microwave or so it seemed, so it definitely didn’t score an eight out of ten on how much I wanted to eat it. That’s the rule my dietitian gave me for treats: if they don’t score an eight or above on how eager I am to eat them, I might consider skipping them.

8. I am grateful that I did lose 0.4kg when I stepped onto the scale today as compared to last week.

9. I am grateful my semi-orthopedic shoes arrived back from the orthopedic shoemaker. The last time I sent them back, I had a blister on my right heel after only ten minutes of walking on them. Now I haven’t walked longer than that at a time on the shoes, but so far, so good.

10. I am grateful I got an E-mail from the store I bought the headphones that stopped working after two weeks at, saying they’ll give me my money back. I don’t have it in my bank account yet, but they said it could take up to five business days.

11. I did order new headphones and am grateful they work so far. They are a fifth of the price of the non-working ones, but still I am hoping they keep working.

12. I am grateful for paracetamol. I had to take it several times this past week for toothache or headache, but thankfully it worked.

What are you grateful for?

Gratitude List (February 12, 2022) #TToT

Hi again all. I want to post a gratitude list again. Actually, I sort of did one yesterday too by sharing the material things I’d loved. Then though, Ten Things of Thankful was not yet online (or rather, the wrong linky was). Since I like to link my posts up there, I waited till today to write my actual gratitude list. Oh wait, that makes me look spammy, I guess, but oh well. Let me share some things other than chalk pastels and tuna I’ve been grateful for.

1. Seeing my husband. I am in Lobith right now and am so grateful to be with my husband again. I couldn’t see him last week due to the storm and haven’t been in Lobith since Christmas, so it’s especially good.

2. Pizza. Oh, that’s a material thing, but who cares? We ordered Domino’s this evening and, despite the fact that their menu has shifted to include more vegan and gluten-free options and fewer regular pizzas, my pizza (spicy chicken meat lover’s with extra chicken) was delicious! I initially typed a long rant about how Domino’s has gone too far with their “healthy” trendiness by doing the vegan and GF (which I doubt is genuinely 100% GF) thing at the expense of meat lovers, but I deleted it. I’m just grateful they still had at least something spiced with chicken.

3. My husban’ds Valentine’s Day present for me. I got 2 sets of polymer clay: one with 12 25g blocks of Fimo soft and the other with 6 42g blocks Fimo kids. I haven’t used Fimo kids before, so have to determine whether it’s not too soft for my liking.

4. Decent sleep most nights. Either the pregabalin is starting to work (although I haven’t noticed an improvement in my anxiety level yet) or I am for another reason better able to sleep. I had only one bad night this past week.

5. Eggs. Until a few months ago, a former staff from my care home and her husband would give us a tray of eggs from their own chickens each week. Sadly, the husband died and the chickens had to leave their house, which meant no more eggs for us. However, usually, we now order eggs from the supermarket. I recently found out we now even have an electric, talking egg boiler. Well, I had a boiled egg on my bread this morning.

6. Sunshine. It’s cold outside. Okay, I say that all the time, but the temperatures dropped to below freezing point last night. However, it’s also been quite sunny out. I love looking out of my window to see the sunshine.

7. Longer daylight. This may be related to the last one, but not necessarily so. I love the fact that the days are getting longer. As my husband said, we’re heading towards summer! 🤣

8. Weight loss. I already mentioned this afternoon that I crossed the line from obese to just overweight this week. My dietitian says the Dutch Food Center doesn’t even say you really need to lose weight if you’re in this category.

9. My shoes having returned from the orthopedic shoemaker. Not the orthopedic footwear, mind you. That’s the never-ending story if you ask me. However, for now, I have useable shoes again.

10. My PC. I am so grateful my PC still works. My iPhone, after all, more or less stopped cooperating with my Braille display altogether with the latest iOS upgrade, which should actually have fixed the very problem it now seems to have made worse. Thankfully though, I have a functioning PC with the latest JAWS (my screen reader), on which I can do most things I want to do. I just tried accessing the WordPress.com app to check my notifications, but for some reason, that won’t work still. I’m just grateful I can write E-mails and blog posts on my PC.

What are you grateful for?

I Am Overweight!

Hi everyone. Today I’m joining Di of Pensitivity101 for Saturday Swapit, a weekly weight loss meme. I am not intending for this to become a weekly feature, but, because I had a dietitian’s appointment yesterday, I wanted to share some things I learned.

First though, I have a major win to share: when stepping on the scale yesterday, it told me I’m now 70.1kg. This means I’ve crossed the line back from obese to just plain overweight! I did kind of trivialize the achievement by saying it’s the absolute minimum I had to lose to cross this line and hence I may be back into the obese category next week. That may be so, but I did lose 1.7kg since starting on my food plan five weeks ago. That may not sound like much, but I’d rather lose the weight slowly and keep it off than lose more weight only to gain it all back and then some.

Like I said, I’m doing my healthy eating plan under a dietitian’s supervision. The main goal is not weight loss, but relative mental stability with respect to food and a healthy eating structure. You see, I have a history of bulimic tendencies and had a slip-up with respect to purging just before Christmas. Every opportunity to eat still leads to inner conflict.

With respect to this, the dietitian taught me about my negative and positive voices: the healthy-eating voice vs. the bulimic voice. Even if you’re not bulimic, you’ll likely recognize some of the disordered things the negative voice is telling me, such as that, if you’ve eaten a “bad” food, now the day’s gone to waste and you can just as easily call it a cheat day and binge eat whatever you want. The reality is, though, each healthy food choice will ultimately contribute to your weight loss (or other healthy lifestyle goal).

Another thought is that you have to make up for one small treat by restricting on another food. The idea that this thought is unhealthy, may contradict the previous one, but, in reality, it’s all about balance. If you’ve had one small treat that’s not on your food plan in the morning, it doesn’t mean the day’s gone to waste, but it doesn’t mean you need to be restricting or making up for it later in the day either. It doesn’t mean you can have said treat each and every day, of course. Your food plan is there for a reason, after all.

Another thing I asked the dietitian about is late evening snacking. I have a serving of fruit on my food plan in the evening. My staff felt that, for practical reasons, it’d be best if they’d offer it to me at 9:15PM. I countered that, since this is pretty close to my bedtime, I wouldn’t burn it off then. Thankfully, the dietitian was able to reassure me that people’s digestion works 24 hours a day. It’s a myth that late evening snacking causes you not to burn off the calories you consume!

Where I Think I’ll Be in a Year’s Time Based on My Current Daily Actions #Write28Days

Hi everyone. Welcome to day four in #Write28Days. Today’s optional word prompt, “nesting”, didn’t quite speak to me. I also wasn’t really inspired to write any sort of in-depth personal growth article. Rather, I picked up a collection of journaling prompts called The Self Exploration Journal and chose a prompt I hadn’t used on this blog before. It asks us to reflect on where, based on our current daily actions, we can expect to be in a year’s time.

Now I know that my future is in God’s hands, not mine. I have no way of knowing where I will be one year from now. That however doesn’t mean that I can’t take daily actions to hopefully live a healthier and more enriched life. Today, let me share some things I’m doing to take care of myself and some things in which I could still improve on and what I think these will mean for my future.

First, last month, I started on a healthier diet. It’s been a rocky road and I’m still struggling to find my balance on it. During the first week, I felt like I was just eating lettuce and carrots and was disappointed that I’d lost only 0.5kg. Now, I think I’ve found a better balance, but I might’ve swung slightly too far to the other side again. After all, this week, I had a sausage roll for lunch on Wednesday and a cheese roll today. I still am losing weight (or at least, I had a maintain this week). Based on my overall daily actions, I can expect to probably have lost a few kilograms next year, but I can’t expect to be anywhere close to a healthy BMI. Then again, that isn’t my goal.

Given that I hardly walk or exercise in other ways lately, I can’t expect my physical fitness level to improve. It’ll probably have declined by next year.

Mental health-wise, I can expect to still be in treatment and take my medication as prescribed, but I can also expect to still be quite vulnerable. Of course, I am always hoping that the next med tweak or change of treatment will be the thing that’s going to help me stabilize forever, but I have to be realistic: that’s not going to happen.

In the creative department, I can expect to experience ebbs and flows. I will probably have improved my polymer clay craft, having explored mixed media. I will likely still be a blogger, publishing several posts a week at least.

Given that, even though I look at other living places almost daily but haven’t actively decided I want to move, next year, I’ll likely still live in my current care facility. I’ll likely still be married to my husband too.

In summary, I can’t expect anything major to change for the better in the coming year but I am hopeful that I won’t make a turn for the worse either. I am hoping for slight improvements in the healthy eating and crafty departments. And, of course, I do really need to get my behind off the chair, but we’re talking current daily actions and that’s not happening right now.

Gratitude List (January 28, 2022) #TToT

Hi everyone. I have been doing my gratitude posts on Saturday lately, but today I feel in the mood for one and I don’t care that it’s Friday. Since the Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) linky is live already, I’m joining in with it. Here goes.

1. I am grateful for Chinese takeout on Sunday. It was delicious! Originally, the staff had been planning on cooking noodles herself, but then due to another staff contracting COVID, shifts got moved around. The staff who would be cooking the noodles, had ordered shoarma to go with the noodles, which was a combination neihter me nor the staff who was now going to cook liked. In the end, we decided to put the shoarma in the freezer and get Chinese takeout.

2. I am grateful my husband, who got ill with the flu last week, is better again. He tested negative for COVID, thankfully, and was able to return to work on Tuesday.

3. I am grateful a fellow client, who went into hospital earlier in the week, was able to come home again.

4. I am grateful for fried fish for lunch on Tuesday. Originally, I felt bad about doing something that wasn’t on my food plan twice in one week, but I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway. In addition, thankfully, the dietitian reassured me that this is completely within reason.

5. I am grateful I lost 1kg over the past week and have only 0.2kg to lose to cross the border from obese to overweight. I am also grateful that the dietitian isn’t expecting me to lose weight quickly. Furthermore, once I am in the overweight category, the main goal is to prevent weight gain really.

6. I am grateful for the support of my assigned staff. Last Wednesday night, I hardly slept at all and I sent her an E-mail in the middle of the night. The next morning, even though she hadn’t read my E-mail yet, she woke me up despite actually not being my staff for that morning. We had a very good talk.

7. I am grateful for the support of my nurse practitioner. He doesn’t really know what will help me in the way of medication or whatever yet, now that we’ve more or less concluded that the topiramate isn’t as effective as we’d hoped. However, he’s enlisting the help of the psychiatrist.

8. I am grateful I finished my first handmade polymer clay necklace in time to give it to a fellow client in the care home downstairs from mine for her birthday today. It took me over a month of hard work, but I am so proud of myself for finishing it! I am also grateful she was very happy with it.

9. I am grateful for an extra weighted blanket when I feel very anxious. I always use a blanket filled with sand-like granules when sleeping, but when I feel very anxious, I can add a ball-filled blanket on top of it for extra deep pressure.

10. I am grateful I was able to solve at least one of the problems the most recent iOS update was causing with VoiceOver on my iPhone. Since updating, VoiceOver’s speech prefaced every character I typed by “Underscore”. This turned out to be due to a setting that had been switched by the update or something. Unfortunately, some problems, like Braille display sluggishness, persist.

What have you been grateful for?

#WeekendCoffeeShare (January 14, 2022)

Hi everyone on this Friday afternoon. I’m joining #WeekendCoffeeShare. I just had a glass of water and am going to have another one in half an hour or so. Maybe I’m going to ask for a Senseo or treat myself to a Dubbelfrisss, my favorite soft drink. I’m afraid we don’t have the diet variety though. Can I pour you a drink? Let’s have a cup of something and let’s chat.

If we were having coffee, first I’d share that it’s not as cold as it was last week, but it’s still too cold for my liking. Daytime temps rose to about 7°C most of this week. I did go on one longer walk yesterday, to the supermarket to buy a card for my father. He’ll celebrate his 73rd birthday tomorrow. We also bought some veggies. Oh, and a croissant, because I felt like treating myself. I had just one for lunch instead of bread though. I just looked up how many calories are in one croissant and that’s about as much as in two slices of bread without toppings. Of course, bread contains less fat and sugar and more fiber, but so what?

If we were having coffee, I would go on to share about my dietitian’s appt this morning. It went pretty well. She didn’t admonish me for not wanting to lose the 13kg I need to lose to be at a healthy BMI. I do want to lose the 1.5kg I need to lose to no longer be obese though. More importantly, I want to eat relatively healthily and hopefully quiet the inner conflict about food.

The dietitian gave me some recommendations for healthy meal choices for breakfast and lunch. For example, she said I can have salad for lunch with croutons and a little chicken, tuna or salmon (that last one I don’t really like) occasionally rather than bread. I do need to make sure the staff take care of portion sizes, of course, because I’m pretty sure they’d otherwise throw the entire can of tuna into my salad. For breakfast, I am still allowed yoghurt with muesli, just not the crunchy kind. And thankfully, the muesli doesn’t need to be plain, it can include nuts or raisins or the like.

I did share my disappointment with her at only having lost 0.5kg over the past week when I stepped on the scale yesterday. The dietitian said that this is a pretty great result though.

If we were having coffee, lastly I would tell you I got my benefits payment slip last Monday and am grateful to report I will still get enough money that I can still spend some on fun things like polymer clay supplies or the like. I don’t know whether I shared this in my coffee share posts before, but my long-term care copay will automatically be withheld from my benefits. The copay is income-dependent and, because I’m married, my husband’s income is counted too. Then again, because I’m married, I do get to pay the so-called “low” copay because the government does take into account the responsibility I have for contributing to his household expenses too.

The copay is calculated based on our combined income from two years back, so 2020 for this year. Because my husband earned more money in 2020 than in 2019 and had a lot of tax deductibles in 2019, I was expecting a higher copay by at least €100 a month, but fearing it might be as much as €200 a month. Then again, I was hoping my benefits would also be raised a little. Long story short, my net income was cut by €82 a month. That’s a lot. I realize some people won’t be able to handle this, particularly people on benefits. I am so intensely grateful that I am relatively well off.

How have you been?

Gratitude List (September 17, 2021) #TToT

Hi everyone! I’m struggling with grief a bit today. I thought at first that I wanted to write about it, but I’ve made up my mind. Rather, I want to distract myself and, for this reason, am doing a gratitude list. As usual, I’m joining Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT). Here goes.

1. I am grateful for my husband. We’ll celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this weekend and I’m so glad he’s put up with me through all these years.

2. I am grateful to be pain-free right now. I woke up in some pain a few mornings this week, but right now, it’s evening and I’m not in pain.

3. I am grateful I am doing relatively well sticking to a healthier lifestyle. I started two weeks ago and, in my first week, lost 800 grams. I’m going to weigh myself tomorrow morning again.

4. I am grateful for relatively good weather still. It’s still pretty warm, with temps rising to about 20°C each day. We’ve had some rain, but not too bad.

5. I am grateful for quick replies from the developer of Diarium, the app I reviewed on Tuesday. He’ll hopefully be able to figure out why the app isn’t showing up on the App Store for at least some people.

6. I am grateful for Diarium’s built-in “My Day” template. I am also grateful that Diarium is pretty much completely translated into Dutch, including the template, so that I can now easily journal in my native language. That helps me get out of “writing for an audience” mode. I am grateful I am on a four-day streak in Diarium (not that the app keeps track) now.

7. I am grateful for good books to lose myself into.

8. I am grateful for Pringles. My day activities staff, the one who had her 25th anniversary of working for this agency in August, celebrated the occasion officially yesterday. She gave us all chips, in my case Pringles, because I like those the best.

9. I am grateful to have been relatively creative despite feeling a bit meh over the past week.

10. I am grateful to be a child of God. I have been increasingly inspired to not just proclaim Jesus as my savior, but to allow Him to be Lord over my life.

What are you grateful for?

Dropping Those Extra Pounds

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week asks us what’s sabotaging us in dropping those extra pounds. I remember about six years ago responding to a similar prompt on my old blog. At the time, the prompt asked us specifically about those first five pounds. That would be somewhat fitting for today too, as my weight currently is about five pounds into the obese range.

It hasn’t always been that way. Back in 2015, losing five pounds wouldn’t even get my BMI under 30. In 2017, I had a BMI close to 35. I managed to turn that around and lose almost 10kg or 20lbs in six months, crossing the line back to just plain overweight for the first time in many years.

Now I’ve been back within the obese range for several years already, but my weight has been more or less stable for about two years now. I would really like to lose those first five pounds, but something’s sabotaging me. And that something isn’t binge eating anymore.

In fact, back in 2015, I admitted that the problem wasn’t most likely my emotional overeating either. I’m not sure that’s true, as I considered it a win that I hadn’t had a binge in a few weeks. Now, I haven’t had one in months.

However, I was probably right that it was more my habitual snacking and lack of exercise. Currently, I do try to get in enough exercise at least with my walking, but I still eat just a little too many cookies and chips.

The fact that I get in enough walking, probably keeps me stable, but I could be doing so much better if I just resisted the urge to have a cookie or two with each coffee break. Like my husband once said, if I removed just one cookie from my diet and didn’t make it up with anything else, I would have lost those first five pounds within six months to a year.

Mama’s Losin’ It

June 2021 Health and Wellness Update

I am feeling kind of worried about my health lately. To get myself a more realistic picture of how I’m doing, I thought I’d do a health and wellness check-in. I am hoping I can make this a monthly habit.

Firstly, the reason I am worried is one abnormal result on the annual bloodwork I had done last week. I get an annual blood test for fasting glucose, cholesterol and other indicators of metabolic syndrome. This is because I take psychiatric medications that can influence this. Last year, my mental health agency ordered it, but this year, my care facility’s physician did. This means I could see my results in the patient portal for my GP surgery that same evening.

The good news is my fasting glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides were all within the normal range. The one thing that wasn’t, is an estimate of kidney function. It should be above 90 and was 81. Because it is an estimate, one abnormal blood test doesn’t say anything. I may need to be retested in a few months.

I looked up what to do about decreased kidney function, hoping to find that if I drank plenty of water, I could get it back to normal. I’m still not sure that’s the case. I mean, I try to drink at least two liters of fluid each day, but can’t figure out whether that should be enough. Other than that, I do try to watch my salt intake more closely. That’s pretty hard, of course – harder than drinking more water.

I do worry that I might not be able to tolerate the topiramate though, because if I remember correctly, that medication is eliminated through the kidneys. I’m not sure though and will leave this to the doctors to decide.

Like I said though, all my other results were within the normal range. My fasting blood glucose was 4.3. It should be between 4 and 6 and was 4.2 the last time, but I’m not drawing conclusions about it increasing as of yet.

Today, I did send off a urine sample for checking for a UTI, because I’ve been having lower abdominal pain. It came back alright. My staff will likely call for an appointment for me to see the doctor, as the pain is still pretty intense.

As for some good news though, I stepped onto the scale this morning and am back at my average weight for the past six months or so. My weight usually goes up or down a few pounds. I’m now 72.1kg, which means 2kg to lose for a BMI under 30. I am unlikely to reach that goal, but it’s okay.

As my husband reminded me when I told him about the abnormal blood result, small steps go a long way. I am already trying to cut back on my snacking on the weekend. I also make sure to eat enough veg and fruit. I mean, the meal delivery company isn’t great on putting veg in its pasta and rice dishes, which I eat most days. However, I make sure to eat some cucumber, tomatoes or raw bell pepper with each lunch. For the upcoming month, I’ve also selected some potato dishes from the meal menu, since they usually are richer in veg.

My husband also pointed out that I get enough physical activity. I could go on the elliptical more often, but my walking is pretty good already.

I did feel a little depressed when my husband told me that it’s obvious that I’m not as healthy as the average woman in her thirties. Then again, he reminded me that I turned the tide on my weight gain in 2018 and am healthier in some ways than I was before. Besides, a century ago I wouldn’t have lived past infancy. That put things into perspective.